Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks agree to eight-year contract

All-Star defenceman Erik Karlsson signed an eight-year deal to remain with the San Jose Sharks.

The team did not release contract figures, but multiple reports on Monday said it’s worth about $11.5 million per year.

His contract will be among the NHL’s richest in annual average value. Connor McDavid of Edmonton is the league’s highest-paid player, with a $12.5 million annual average value.

Karlsson, 29, could have become the league’s marquee free agent this offseason as he reached the end of the seven-year, $45.5 million contract he signed with the Ottawa Senators, who selected him No. 15 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft.

READ MORE: ‘It’s going to be different and weird,’ Erik Karlsson says about return to Ottawa

The Senators traded Karlsson and Francis Perron to San Jose last September, receiving Chris Tierney, Rudolfs Balcers, Dylan DeMelo, Joshua Norris, and a first-round pick and a second-round pick. The Senators also will receive another second-round pick once Karlsson re-signs with San Jose under terms of the trade agreement.

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“We are extremely pleased that Erik and his wife Melinda have committed to the San Jose Sharks and that they have done so prior to July 1,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “Players with Erik’s elite level of talent are rare and when they become available, it’s important to be aggressive in pursuing them. He is a difference maker who consistently makes the players around him better.”

Karlsson is a two-time winner of the NHL’s Norris Trophy (2012 and 2015) and a six-time All-Star.

Limited to 53 games last season with a groin injury, Karlsson had 45 points (three goals, 42 assists).

In 680 career NHL games, Karlsson has 563 points (129 goals, 434 assists).

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“I’m excited to continue the chase for the ultimate prize: the Stanley Cup,” Karlsson said. “Last year was an unbelievable run but we didn’t achieve what we set out to do. But the dedication I witnessed from my teammates, coaches, staff and organization showed me that we all have a great future ahead of us, and that we are capable of fighting for that championship year in and year out.”

San Jose lost in the Western Conference final in six games to the St. Louis Blues, the eventual Stanley Cup champion.

The Sharks will have additional decisions to make this offseason, with Joe Thornton and captain Joe Pavelski both eligible to become free agents.

— Field Level Media